It’s never easy waking up after staying at Techwood working on NCAA.com until 2am. But it’s a lot easier waking up after staying at Techwood until 2am knowing you’re going to meet up with some of your best friends in Atlanta to volunteer for the day.
A few weeks ago, we received an email telling us about Turner Volunteer Day, a day of service for employees of Turner Broadcasting where we could select one of 34 sites around Atlanta to volunteer at and better our new hometown. The four NCAA.com editorial interns—Abby, Eric, Andrew, and myself–decided we would all volunteer together. It would be great to give back, to get out of the office, and to connect with other Turner employees we rarely get to see with working the night shift.
Our application was accepted and the four of us met at Techwood on Wednesday morning, not even six hours after leaving the night before. We drove to Turner Field where we met up with hundreds of Turner employees for breakfast from the Flying Biscuit and Sublime Doughnuts, two of our favorites. After a welcome from our CEO, Phil Kent, and the mayor of Atlanta, Kasim Reed, we boarded our bus to our assignment, the Coralwood School in Decatur.
We were met by the principal of the school, who was so thankful we’d be helping out. She explained to us that the Coralwood School is a public inclusion school in the Dekalb County School System that serves pre-k through kindergarten. There were many landscaping tasks to accomplish, so Eric, Andrew, Abby, and I chose to work on the nature trail and treehouse, an outdoor classroom. We were immediately set up with shears, rakes, saws, clippers, hedge trimmers, and bags to clean off the gravel paths and remove all the brush. It was definitely taxing, but so rewarding.
We spent four hours clearing out all the brush on the trail, trimming the briars, cutting back the ivy, and widening the path so it would be smoother for the teachers to bring the students in wheelchairs out into nature. The site leader had explained to us that the students paint little rocks and lay them along the edges of the path to mark their way. As we went, we were able to uncover their rocks, clean them off, and replace them on at the newly-widened edge of the gravel. We were so excited to look at each one and know how happy the students would be seeing their uncovered, colorful rocks after we’d cleaned the path.
It was so awesome to get out of the office and make a difference in the A, representing Turner. Turner put together such an incredible event and it’s so exciting to be part of a company that had so many employees that were as excited as we were to get out into the community and give back. We had the opportunity to bond with each other in a team-building task outside the office, meet other employees, and really make a difference to these kids in our new city! Abby and I were definitely a little tired and needed quite a few jolts of caffeine after volunteering all day and then working a ten-hour night shift, but we had no complaints because we had too much fun at Coralwood.
We already can’t wait for the next Turner Volunteer Day!